Brief Fact Summary.
The National Labor Relations Board found that Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation had violated the Act by engaging in an unfair labor practice affecting commerce when the corporation discharged some of its employees due to their union activity to discourage membership in the union. The Board ordered reinstatement, back pay and other remedies but the corporation refused to comply.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Acts which directly burden or obstruct interstate or foreign commerce or its free flow are within the reach of the congressional power.
The Act does not compel any agreement whatsoever between employees and employers.View Full Point of Law
The Act stated that congress found injury to commerce resulting from employers’ rejection of collective bargaining and their denial of their employees’ right to unionize. The stated policy of the Act was to eliminate the causes of the obstruction to the free flow of commerce. The Act also empowered the National Labor Relations Board to prevent unfair labor practices. The National Labor Relations Board found that Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation had violated the Act by engaging in an unfair labor practice affecting commerce when the corporation discharged some of its employees due to their union activity to discourage membership in the union. The corporation, however, refused to comply with the Board’s order. The circuit court rejected the enforcement of the order.
Does the Act at issue – that congress found injury to commerce resulting from employers’ rejection of collective bargaining and their denial of their employees’ right to unionize – invade the reserved powers of the States over their local concerns?
No, the Act’s grant of authority to the Board does not purport to extend to the relationship between all industrial employees and employers. Its terms do not impose collective bargaining upon all industry regardless of effects upon interstate or foreign commerce. It purports to reach only what may be deemed to burden or obstruct that commerce and it must be construed as contemplating the exercise of control within constitutional bounds.
The congressional authority to protect interstate commerce from burdens and obstructions is not limited to transactions which can be deemed to be an essential part of a flow of interstate or foreign commerce. Burdens and obstructions may be due to injurious action resulting from other sources. The power to regulate commerce is the power to enact “all appropriate legislation” for its protection and advancement; to adopt measures “to promote its growth and insure its safety.” That power is plenary and may be exerted to protect interstate commerce no matter what the source of the dangers which threaten it. Although activities may be intrastate when separately considered, if they have such a lose and substantial relation to interstate commerce as in this case that their control is essential to protect that commerce from burdens and obstructions, Congress cannot be denied the power to exercise the control. Moreover, any effect on the interstate commerce springing from the respondents’ activities would be more than indirect or remote. It would rather be immediate and catastrophic. Thus, Congress has the authority to enforce the Act.